It was just six months ago when J
Jayalalithaa, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, miserably failed in addressing
the destructive rains and floods that wreaked havoc in many parts of the state
including Tamil Nadu's capital Chennai.
Though Tamil Nadu was not the
only South Indian state to face the rain aftermath then, with Andhra Pradesh
also badly affected, the real worry was in Tamil Nadu - where Chennai saw the
worst rainfall and flooding in 100 years. And the situation was not much
different in many other parts.
To the scale that even
Jayalalithaa's 'Baahubali' avatar couldn't save the state - even if Amma, as
Jayalalithaa is affectionately called, tried hard to do - with her larger than
life presence - on hoardings, on banners, on posters, on every sort of relief
material including the food items.
'Baahubali' that translates to 'muscleman
or strongman' is one of the most successful movies produced by the Indian film
industry last year.
Last November-December, when
Tamil Nadu was reeling under the miles high devastation of the flood aftermath, Jayalalithaa's huge
Baahubali hoardings cropped up, showing an all powerful Amma carrying a baby
away from the horrors of the rain.
No need to say that was in bad
taste - and attracted every sort of criticism and satire.
But that could not dim the
prospects of a South Indian politics obsessed with film stars and personality
Jayalalithaa has continued with her
mission to make Tamil Nadu 'Amma Nadu', a state synonymous with her nickname.
There are Amma baby kits. There are Amma canteens. A bottled water is brand
named Amma. The list is long - Amma salt, Amma seeds, Amma pharmacies, Amma home appliances, even Amma cement and
laptop - and this list is not exhaustive.
The way it has spread in Tamil
Nadu in the last five years makes one feel that Jayalalithaa is going to rule
Tamil Nadu for a long time, breaking the trend of consistent power transfer in
the state, from AIADMK to DMK and vice versa, in subsequent elections.
We all felt so.
Many of us still feel so, even if
there is a group that feels DMK has now fair chances to defeat Amma. Even some
exit polls say so. If that indeed happens, the mishandling of the last year
floods would be a major cause in this.
Tomorrow is the D Day when the
results would be out.
And Tamil Nadu is again staring
at massive rains. In fact, according to reports, Chennai received maximum
rainfall in a day since 1995. Then there is a cyclone alert for Tamil Nadu and
Andhra Pradesh. Teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and senior and
junior level officials have been deployed to handle the aftermath.
But the million dollar question
is - would voters give Amma another chance to 'do or undo' what she had done
during the floods last year?
Another way to look at that is -
if Amma wins the polls tomorrow - it would say Amma's Baahubali act indeed
established a connect with her supporters.
And that would further hasten the
'Amma-fication' of Tamil Nadu.